Preparing for the big 5-0

I have found it most uplifting to observe the 50th birthday celebration of America’s First Lady, the much loved and popular Michelle Obama, who is three months older than me.

She is a real inspiration and a great role model, not just for black women, but for women of all ethnicities. I admire her beauty, elegance, intelligence, wit and charm.

When I started this blog two and a half years ago it was supposed to represent a journey towards my own half-century where I would change my eating habits, take more exercise, embrace my natural hair and greet my 50th birthday at my absolute peak.

However, even the best-laid plans can come unstuck and two and a half years is a long time to stay focused on health and beauty when there are other priorities. My ‘lifestyle challenge’ started off well enough – as my gallery shows, I lost a good amount of weight and managed to keep it off for a year, but it crept back on.

Looking at my weight journal that I have kept since January 2010, by June 2013 my weight had gone back up to 14 st! Also, despite initially managing to keep up with a natural hair regimen, it became too difficult to maintain and by September 2012 I was back to using relaxers.

I underestimated the demands of undertaking a PhD, which took up all of my time and energy to the point where I would not allow myself the time to do exercise or keep up with the daily/weekly hair regimen. I also juggled part-time PR work and setting up the Black British Academics Network in April 2013. The only thing that kept me going was food and red wine.

I knew I was eating and drinking too much – a couple of glasses of red wine with the evening meal soon adds up to more than is healthy and cakes and chocolates were a regular reward I gave myself for completing chapters in my doctoral thesis.

I had to ‘zone out’, a technique I mastered to filter out any and all distractions to give my full attention to a single task – my thesis. It proved successful and I finished my thesis at the beginning of January and await my viva (oral examination) sometime in March.

I am now on a mission to regain my slim figure and get fit again so that I can look and feel fabulous at 50! I am in what I call the ‘AF’ zone – that is ‘absolutely focused’ to the point where know I can do anything I put my mind to.

Seeing Michelle Obama at 50 is highly motivating and empowering and will keep me in the ‘AF’ zone to achieve my goals. Watch this space!

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